Glasgow & West Scotland

Strathclyde rise in children involved in domestic abuse

Man attacking woman in home
Image caption Domestic abuse incidents increase during the festive period

Incidents of domestic abuse involving children have increased by more than 20% in the Strathclyde Police area.

The force said that in December last year youngsters were involved in 1,609 domestic abuse incidents, up 21% on December 2009's total of 1,301.

A police spokesman said two-thirds of domestic abuse incidents now involve children.

The figures were revealed as the force launched their latest campaign to tackle the problem.

Ch Supt Bob Hamilton, of Strathclyde Police, said: "Sadly, during each festive period domestic abuse incidents increase.

"Indeed, the number of incidents reported from last year have increased on the year before. Even more shockingly, the incidents where children are involved have also increased.

"As part of this campaign we are asking victims, and families or friends of victims, to speak out - if not for you, for the children involved in these abusive situations.

"These children are viewing scenes that no child should ever see."

The figures for December 2010 showed that 942 incidents of domestic abuse involved children under six, up 22.5% on the previous year.

Children aged six to 11 were involved in 753 incidents, up 25.9%, and those aged 12-16 were up 28.7% to 538.

The force is using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in its campaign.

Mairead Tagg, of Women's Aid, said: "Christmas is a time when children should be happy and excited, not fearful and worried about what is happening at home.

"Each year Women's Aid in Scotland supports thousands of women, children and young people affected by domestic abuse and we are usually particularly busy in the aftermath of the Christmas period as families try to pick up the pieces after another ruined Christmas."

'No excuse'

Anne Marie Hicks, of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said: "Domestic abuse has a real impact not only on the victim but also on children, other family members and neighbours who may be in the vicinity while it takes place.

"Children can be greatly affected by violence and other forms of abuse in the home when they witness their mother or father being physically or verbally abused in front of them and then experience the repercussions of this."

She added: "Christmas undeniably brings pressures on families, many of whom may be suffering the effects of the ongoing recession, but this is absolutely no excuse for domestic abuse."

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